The "hysterical" label: Didn't Know I was...
Sharing the Link Love on a Tuesday

You'd Think We'd Know Better By Now

by Guest Blogger, Lena West, Chief Social Media Strategist at xynoMedia

*Bonus media opp below...*

You know, I've just about had it with people who have poor email skills. Seriously. The party's over folks.

Email I was hoping that we would be beyond this by now, but sadly we are not. People who really should know better have some of the poorest email manners in the world. Why is this?

I mean, granted, in the grand scheme of things, email etiquette is not the be-all-end-all, but good grief we all use email on a daily basis (except for maybe Tim Ferriss), in most instances multiple times a day -- c'mon can't we get this right???

A few things that annoy the heck out of me come to mind:

  • If I send you an email that has several related thoughts, please, in the name of all that's holy, respond to each item so that I don't have to reply to ask, "What about..."
  • If you're sending me an email to ask me to call you, please put your phone number in the email. Not only does it make it easier for me to get back to you when I'm in the office, but when I'm traveling and checking my email on my Blackberry, I can click the "Call" button after highlighting your number and the phone will dial the number automatically. Make it easier for everyone.
  • If you're canceling an appointment via email - especially an in-person appointment where you know the person is traveling a good way to meet you - have the common courtesy to call. Last week, I went to meet with someone in NYC for a breakfast meeting (anyone who knows me, knows I'm not a morning person so a breakfast meeting with me is like an act of Congress) and when I reached the restaurant, I called. No answer. I called again and finally my breakfast partner said that he had sent me a few days prior to cancel. Really? I hadn't received that email and as a result of him neglecting to make a 30-second phone call, I traveled 30 miles (coming and going) out of my way -- as high as gas is.
  • I sign every outgoing email with my name - spelled correctly - if you reply to my email with my name spelled any way other than L-E-N-A, what you're saying to me is, "I'm not willing to take the time to respect you enough as a person to spell your name correctly," or you're saying, "I don't pay attention long enough to get someone's name right."  I'm not saying mistakes don't happen, I am saying that my name is not Lina or Leena.
  • Stop assuming that everyone uses Outlook! There are other email programs that people use - including webmail, Entourage, etc. Forwarding me an .eml attachment or sending me an Outlook meeting invite does nothing for me.
  • If we've gone back and forth via email trying to get on the same page,pick up the daggone phone! Most times it only takes a few minutes to get to the heart of a topic that has been eluding us when communicating via email.

I'm probably forgetting a few annoyances, but these are the biggies that come to mind. Got any of your own? Share them, please...

P.S. My colleague Camille Noe Pagan is writing a story for a major women's magazine (you'll know the publication as soon as you hear the name) and she's looking for women ages 40-60 in the NY tri-state area who have a fairly sedentary lifestyle who want to try an energy-boosting plan created by a top physician for one month, and report back on whether the plan worked. The candidate should be willing to use her real name and be photographed. Interested parties can email her directly at [email protected]. Her deadline is end-of-day Tuesday, June 10th. Disclaimer: This query originally ran on Peter Shankman's list, but Camille has asked me to run it here as well.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Lena L. West


I totally agree. Why on earth would you spell my name Lina or Leena after you just received an email from me where not only do I sign off as Lena, but my sign file says Lena as well?? It just shows that everyone is so caught up in their world and they refuse to take the time to really respect people.

Companies should have the "CC Police" and every time someone is CC'd who doesn't need to be CC'd, they'll have to put a dollar into a jar and that money will be saved to host a company happy hour or something - like a swear jar.

Thanks for reading and commenting,


Sandie Law

Oh...the name thing. I, too, sign my emails with my name spelled correctly: SANDIE. I cannot bring myself to speak of the people who misspell it when responding to my email...where my name is spelled correctly just a few lines down! Ugh.

My pet peeve is the Reply to All button. You do not need to copy eighteen different people on an email chain between you and Joe working out the details of some inane deal. Once the email chain ceases to be relevant to me, I don't want to receive copies. Really.

Lena L. West


You're not alone in making typos in your own name. Before I do one last check before heitting send, I've caught myself spelling my name, Kena :)


Ya know, I spend so much time talking about manners, I should really write a blog about it ;) At which I should say, I am by no means perfect. I'm sure I do things that annoy people on a daily basis - and not all the things I do would garner me an award for etiquette, but I try darnnit! :)


I admit that I can do better when it comes to changing email subject lines. I will say that when I'm communicating with people for whom I know that changing the subject line is a big deal, I'll do it, but otherwise, I'm a subject line bozo.

I can say that I delete emails with the subject line "hi" - like who does that anymore??? Totally dumb.

I try to make my subject lines relevant like:

From Lena: Possible media opp for WME Books.


From Lena: Time sensitive - service request

Thanks for reading and commenting!


Kate Hutchinson

My biggest email pet peeve is when someone writes an email with a question like "did you pick up the proofs from the printer?" in the subject line and leaves the body empty.

My constant self-correction is in my name: the way I type (fast!) often leaves me misspelling my name or typo-ing it as AKte or KAte. I always double check for that.

Ardith Lowell

This just goes to show that etiquette matters regardless of the medium, so thank you, Lena. And Yvonne, thank you for bringing up email titles. Important even critical input can be lost or very time-intensive to hunt down when titles no longer match the content of an email thread. Regards, Ardith

Yvonne DiVita

Lena, we all make little mistakes now and then. The key is to NOT make them routinely. I say always change the title of your email. After four or five back and forths, it's a good bet the email has changed focus and if I need to locate it later on, I have to go through dozens of notes...all with the SAME subject line!

Another thing, if you're sharing a link, give me the link. Even if the link is your blog...and it's in your signature. Yes, I can scroll down and find it, but how much easier and more polite is it to just put it in the body of the email? If I have text email, I can copy and paste. If I have HTML, I can click righ away.

The world can go on notice that I am no longer answering emails with the subjectline, "Hi." It may be a legitimate email from 'you'... but it's smells like spam to me! I'm hitting the delete button.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)